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31 Attractive and Easy Sun Loving Perennials: A to Z

Have a sunny, dry area that would look great loaded with flowers, but you are unsure what could survive there?  Look no further, a huge selection of blooming perennials that are both sun loving, and heat tolerant are readily available for you to choose from to fill that space. Living in Southeastern New Mexico, I am constantly looking for plants to bring life and color to my yard, and have found a lively selection to add to my many sunny garden beds.  Read on to keep your garden in bloom from early spring through frost with our A-Z collection of flowers below.

#1 Azalea: Spring Blooms Kick Your Season Off

Heat tolerant, cold hardy, and evergreen, not much can stop these beautiful woody plants that add year-round interest in just about any climate. Pick the color of your choice, and watch them bloom in mid-spring and again mid to late summer for many varieties!

#2 Agastache: Bring in the Hummingbirds

Multi-colored, long flower spikes bloom all summer and into fall, attracting a bountiful of both hummingbirds and butterflies! Disease and pest resistant, these make a beautiful, hardy backdrop for any garden or walkway.

#3 Blanket Flower: A Variety to Choose From

Choose from a variety of red, yellow, and orange hues to brighten up your garden! Native to many Southwestern areas, these plants will grow prolifically in almost every zone, and are easy to separate for controlled transplanting. Blooms last for months through the summer and well into fall.

#4 Buddleia: Bring on the Butterflies!

Apptly nicknamed the butterfly bush, these purple hued flowers bloom from early summer through fall, and can fit any sized space you want! Compact, as well as towering, bush versions are available- and are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Once established they hardly need any watering! Plus, the butterflies love them!

#5 Crape Myrtle: Reblooming Magnificence

Dense and disease resistant, these heat tolerant beauties have an intensely large and vibrant bloom twice a year (especially if deadheaded). Plus they have unique fall foliage and winter interest! Be careful of the variety you buy as some can reach 20 feet or more! For small areas, 2-3 foot varieties are available.

#6 Clematis: Twine Through Your Garden

Although the roots of these vining plants like a shady spot, they thrive in sunshine and once established, add height and delicate interest throughout your garden. Add a ground cover plant or larger perennial to shade the roots, and let this beauty twine into your roses and up trellis and arbors, or even meander horizontally along a fence. A variety of colors, single blooming, and reblooming varieties are available for any garden need!

#7 Coral Bells: Stunning Foliage and Delicate Florets

Double the interest, these sun lovers have stunning light green, purple, red, or orange foliage that doesn’t fade through the season! Plus they send up graceful blooms of tiny stalked, bell-shaped flowers all summer long! These reliable plants do well in both sun and shade, and often keep their color through the winter in protected areas.

#8 Daylilies: Kick off Your Summer Blooms

A true and timeless classic, daylilies add interest and depth to both borders and garden backgrounds. Available in a variety of rainbow hues, stalks explode with short lasting blooms through the middle of summer. Drought tolerant, poor soil forgiving, disease and deer resistant, these plants do it all in any growing zone.

#9 Echinacea: Bursting with Possibilities

Commonly called a coneflower, these multi-petaled must haves are bursting with color through the summer and early fall without deadheading. Attractive to bees, butterflies, and a variety of birds for both nectar and seed heads, they are a fail safe addition to your sunny areas.

#10 Floribunda Roses: Heady with Scent

Most people don’t like time it takes to care for roses, but what’s a garden without a rose? Roses aren’t as difficult as people think, and hardy floribunda have been cultivated as reblooming carpet, climbing, and bush varieties that are easy to grow, and once established are both heat and disease resistant. A gardener’s dream come true!

#11 Geraniums: Hardy Picks

Not your mother’s container flowers, these hardy varieties will come back year and after year in shades of blue, lavender, and purple for added summer and fall interest in your sunny spots. Typically mound shaped, these beauties can also add a low trailing interest along borders, and are wonderfully deer and pest resistant.

#12 Hydrangea: Add in Unique

Acid loving, these variable flowers open white, pink, and a true blue with the right soil conditions. Don’t want the added responsibility of the correct soil pH? No worries! Your flowers will still bloom lighter shades in the spring and fall, and can even handle poor soil conditions once established. They also are a perfect addition to your flower arrangements and dry beautifully as well, adding winter interest and height to your garden.

#13 Iris: Lavish Color All Spring

Mix a variety of different iris for bountiful, colorful blossoms all through the spring and into early summer. These beauties can handle almost any growing conditions and thrive in every zone possible. They almost seem like the worse the growing condition, the better they do! Easy to separate, these tubers can even survive out of the ground for extended periods of time, and get right back to growing once replanted.

#14 Jovibarba: Succulent Beauty

A sunny spot isn’t complete without a variety of succulents for added interest and color. Hens and chicks are among the most popular and grow excellently with a minimum of care or watering in both garden bed settings, as well as within planters. Extremely heat and cold tolerant, these unique plants will be happy wherever you plant them.

#15 Kniphofia: Dramatic Depth and Color

Part of the lily family, these are also often called torch lilies due to their tall, torch like stalk with bright flower heads that bloom in early summer. Hardy in all conditions, these dramatic plants are often a staple in Southern and Western xeriscaping, but many varieties handle much colder climates as well and are underestimated in the Northern clime.

#16 Lupines: Fast Action

Evergreen foliage in warmer climates, Lupines add height and depth quickly each spring to your garden as it grows new foliage and tall spires loaded with abundant blooms late spring through mid-summer. Divides easily every few years to add further interest and color to your garden!

#17 Lavender: Heady Scent and Mosquito Repellant

Charming and fragrant, these low mounding plants help repel mosquitos when planted around your yard in both the garden beds and planters. Stalks of versatile flowers appear in summer, and are excellent when cut and dried to add to lemonades- as well as in drawers and closets to keep clothes smelling fresh!

#18 Monarda: Bring In the Bees with This Balm

The vibrant reds and purples of bee balm will bloom all summer, and attract pollinators to your garden in droves. Hummingbirds and butterflies are also attracted to the abundant colors of this plant that is a must have for all sunny garden spots.

#19 Nemesia: Spring and Winter Southern Interest

This small purple and white flower carpets your garden borders and adds interest during the cooler temperatures of early spring, fall, and winter depending on your hardiness zone. In the heat of summer the plants may not bloom as much in full sun, but never fear! The flowers will come back with a vengeance. This is also a very popular plant for planters and do well in all summer zones.

#20 Oriental Poppy: Delicate and Divine

The large, papery flowers of the poppy are a favorite in all gardens. Their showy warm hues are a fantastic compliment to roses, and do well as a cut flower in bouquets.  A cooler climate flower, the poppy will survive fine in Southern zones, but will bloom earlier in spring and for a shorter duration before going dormant during the heat of the summer.

#21 Phlox: Easy Loving

Floriferous all summer and into fall, the cool shades of phlox provide a fabulous creeping cover, or a spectacular backdrop to your summer foliage depending on the variety you choose. These are a must have for the perennial garden, and it’s not hard to see why! These cheerful little clusters wake up your summer garden early, and add in the deep violets and purples often not seen until fall by other blooming plants.

#22 Peony: Mid-Spring Eruptions!

You know summer is fast approaching when these dashing flowers burst upon the scene! Rich in colors, with velvety looking petals, the large blooms seem too delicate to handle the variety of poor soils it can withstand. Just cut back to the ground each fall to have another spring of show stopping drama.  

#23 Russian Sage: Long-Blooming Classic

The more you ignore this long standing classic, the better it grows. Tolerant of basically every condition, Russian sage sends out silvery purple stalks of flowers all summer long. Adored by hummingbirds, it is completely ignored by other garden pests, deer included, and makes a perfect deterrent to garden predators.

#24 Rose of Sharon: Exotic and Hardy

The perfect tropical bloom, but made to withstand a variety of growing zones and conditions, these hardy hibiscus look like they belong on an island paradise. Easy to grow and cultivate, these varieties include small shrubs, and tall, spreading bushes – so be careful of the choice you make! Once you see these spectacular blooms, you won’t want to dig it up!

#25 Shasta Daisy: Time-Honored Blooms For Any Space

Deadheading this perennial must-have will keep you in blooms mid-summer through frost. In fact, the more you pick to display, the more this plant will flower! Depending on your zone, these sun lovers will also tolerate some shade, and even stay evergreen to the south – but are hardy enough to bounce back from the most wicked of winters.

#26 Sedum: Take Your Pick

Extremely drought tolerant, these perennials can grow practically everywhere. Available in both mounding and ground cover type varieties, they stay evergreen in everything but the most chilled environment- and are easy to use in rock gardens for added seasonal interest.

#27 Turtlehead: All Around Keeper

These small clumping plants tolerate most conditions, but in the most arid of climates you may want to provide it with afternoon shade in order to better appreciate a longer flowering life. Neer invasive, this little plant will slowly spread over time, and allow you to transplant into new areas, or even containers, easily. Tolerant of wet soils, this is a great choice for pond edging as well.

#28 Viburnum: Add Year-Round Interest

Huge blooms, showy foliage, and vibrant berries make this a plant of choice for all season interest.  A woody plant, you may want to prune it, but be sure to do so after it blooms in spring since it flowers on the previous years growth.

#29 Weigela: Color Explosion Spring to Fall

Tame your weigela to mound, or trail, its dark foliage and blooms through your golden greens and and bright flowers to add contrast and drama to your sun loving beds. Bright wine colored flowers bloom in late spring, and purplish foliage turns colors through the heat of summer to keep interest all growing season.

#30 Yarrow: Saturation Your Space ALL Summer Long

These wide headed clusters of yellow, pinks, whites, and reds make for a stunning, long lasting display year after year. In love with the poorest of soils, these perennials do best in dry, hot conditions. Cut flowers also add interest and shape to your bouquets, and dry beautifully to show off indoors year-round.

#31 Zephyranthes: Late Summer Blooms

These low maintenance bulbs send up numerous blooms in response to late summer rains, hence their nickname ‘rain lily’. Tolerant of dry conditions through the spring and summer, these small plants will begin to send up grass-like leaves shortly after becoming established and weave their way through your flower beds year after year. To encourage late summer blooms, either water well, or wait for seasonal rains, sit back, and enjoy!

Ready, Set, Plant!

Hopefully I’ve provided you with a variety of sun loving, easy to grow perennials that will happily find a way into your flowerbeds – or perhaps you need to get busy making space for new ones! As with all new plants they need a period of adjustment to get established. Water is a crucial element during this stage, so plants often do best when planted after the last frost while the weather is still cool enough to avoid quickly drying soils. Occasionally this isn’t conducive, but neither is standing outside hand watering your plants day and night. To plant your perennials anytime, and to alleviate any moisture concerns, try creating your own soaker hose to keep your soils moist and help your plants put down deep roots for healthy and strong blooms later on. As always, share your experiences, add to the list, or ask a question below! Which plant are you putting in first? Let us know!

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!